Monday, April 10, 2017
► In the News Tribune — Boeing, other corporations would get big property tax cuts under GOP schools plan — While Democrats are proposing business tax hikes, a Republican plan would give many of Washington’s largest corporations a sizable property tax cut. Those breaks would include a $7.4 million annual reduction for Boeing, a $6 million cut for Puget Sound Energy and a $1.8 million break for Alaska Airlines, according to new estimates from the state Department of Revenue. Other corporations projected to receive property tax breaks topping $1 million a year under the Republican plan include Walmart, CenturyLink, Avista, BNSF Railway Co. and Weyerhaeuser.
ALSO at The Stand — Senate Republican budget plan short-changes state employees
► In the (Everett) Herald — One percent property tax cap is starving counties (editorial) — Snohomish County officials and county officials throughout the state say the revenue cap isn’t trimming fat any longer, but cutting into the muscle and bone required to offer the services that county residents depend upon, especially those for law enforcement, courts and county jails.
► In the Seattle Times — Piling on property taxes is no way to fund basic services (by King County Assessor John Wilson) — Our property-tax system is the financial foundation that essential local services are built upon. But our overreliance on property taxes is becoming unsustainable and showing signs of potential collapse… Our current system wasn’t planned by anyone, it has evolved over time, and it’s breaking down. We need to talk about how to fix it.
► From KNKX — Tacoma students help build airplanes in new apprenticeship program — About a dozen juniors and seniors from Tacoma high schools are helping build airplanes as part of the state’s first youth apprenticeship in aerospace and manufacturing. The Aerospace Joint Apprenticeship Committee launched the program last week with several manufacturers in Pierce County. The program is part of a larger effort in Washington state to provide more career-oriented education for students.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Production on Boeing’s KC-46 program already a year behind — The Air Force and Boeing are negotiating changes to their contract. Boeing could have to cover the Air Force’s additional costs caused by the late deliveries.. The company already has covered about $1.5 billion in cost overruns on the development program so far.
► In the Washington Post — Mitch McConnell, the man who broke America (by Dana Milbank) — No man has done more in recent years to undermine the functioning of U.S. government. His has been the epitome of unprincipled leadership, the triumph of tactics in service of short-term power.
► In today’s Washington Post — With a deadline looming, nobody is threatening to shut down the government — Budget brinkmanship has become a reliable expression of political dysfunction, but for the first time in years, Republicans and Democrats appear to be working together to keep the lights on in Washington.
► In today’s NY Times — Democrats see opening in tax overhaul fight: Trump’s own deductions — Democrats are sounding the alarm that reshaping the tax code presents Trump’s biggest conflict of interest yet. A tax code overhaul gives Democrats the chance to again bring up his refusal to release his tax returns and to press for details of how his business deals are financed.
ALSO at The Stand — Demand to see Trump’s returns at Tax March Seattle on Saturday — The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO is looking for volunteers to serve as peacekeepers at Saturday’s march. If you can help, please email April Sims, or call her at 253-441-5113. A peacekeeper training is planned for Tuesday night in Seattle so RSVP TODAY and April will get you the details.
► In today’s NY Times — The Trump resistance found early success. Can it also find momentum? — Political reporters were calling, crediting them with helping to bring down Republican legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act. What’s next? That is the critical question facing hundreds of similar groups across the country as they seek to create a lasting political force that could return majorities in the House, and even the Senate, to Democrats.
► In the LA Times — Gorsuch’s impact on divided Supreme Court will begin immediately — Neil Gorsuch joins the Supreme Court just in time to cast potentially significant votes in cases that pit religious liberty against gay rights, test limits on funding for church schools and challenge California’s restrictions on carrying a concealed gun in public.
► In the Wall St. Journal — Impact of federal hiring freeze seen at Veterans Affairs, prisons, Social Security (subscription req’d) — The hiring freeze President Donald Trump ordered on his first full working day in the White House is threatening to compromise the safety of correctional officers, delay payments to veterans and prevent disabled and retired Americans from getting their Social Security checks on time, union officials and government workers say.
ALSO at The Stand — Trump’s federal hiring freeze is killing jobs, hurting vets
► From The Hill — Commerce chief: NAFTA needs more than a tweak — Wilbur Ross, Trump’s secretary of Commerce, said it needs “much more than a tweak,” arguing “bad trade deals” should be rectified.
► In today’s NY Times — America’s toxic workplace rules (by Rachel Cernansky) — Why does OSHA allow workers to be exposed to dangerous chemicals at limits far higher than those set for everyone by the EPA? OSHA was making slow progress toward equalizing some of those standards when Obama’s presidency ended. That’s where Trump’s nomination for labor secretary, R. Alexander Acosta, comes in. President Trump has already required agencies to remove two existing regulations for every new one issued. That seems a difficult political climate in which to favor worker safety over employers’ convenience. If confirmed, will Acosta order his OSHA chief to continue the work toward more rigorous environmental protections for laborers and defend standards already in place that protect worker safety? The many thousands of workers routinely exposed to toxic chemicals can only hope the answer will be yes.
► From Remezcla — On May 1, the U.S. may see the biggest immigrant strike since 2006 — On May 1 — a day known for labor organizing around the world — as many as an estimated 400,000 won’t show up to work across the United States. Immigrants’ rights groups, labor unions, and workers organizations are gearing up for what may become the biggest immigrant strike the country has seen in more than 10 years.
► In today’s NY Times — The gig economy’s false promise (editorial) — In reality, there is no utopia at companies like Uber, Lyft, Instacart and Handy, whose workers are often manipulated into working long hours for low wages while continually chasing the next ride or task. These companies have discovered they can harness advances in software and behavioral sciences to old-fashioned worker exploitation, according to a growing body of evidence, because employees lack the basic protections of American law.
► In today’s NY Times — California moves to become ‘sanctuary state,’ others look to follow — With the federal government vastly expanding who is considered a priority for deportation, the California State Senate approved a bill last week that increased protections for immigrants. The measure prohibits local law enforcement agencies from using resources to investigate, detain, report or arrest people for immigration violations.
► In the Chicago Tribune — Low wage growth one of the reasons for fading new U.S. car sales — Wage growth, or the lack of it, is a contributing factor, especially for low-wage earners and first-time vehicle buyers, who tend to be millennials just starting out in their careers.
► From Reuters — In Georgia, a Democrat’s ‘Make Trump Furious’ campaign rattles Republicans — Democrats are threatening a stunning special election upset that could signal how well the party can turn Trump’s low approval ratings into political gains. And they appear to have an ally in the April 18 vote: Trump himself. In the first congressional election of the Trump era, a wave of grassroots anti-Trump fervor has positioned Democrat Jon Ossoff, a 30-year-old political newcomer, to possibly capture a House of Representatives seat held by Republicans for decades, one of 24 seats Democrats need nationwide to reclaim the House.
► In the NY Times — The unions that like Trump (by Steven Greenhouse) — Trump and his advisers know that his “America First” message resonates with autoworkers and other blue-collar workers. The Trump team also knows that if it can win over some of the nation’s major labor unions — they’re usually a pillar of Democratic campaigns — that will badly weaken the Democrats for years to come… The nation’s unions are divided into three camps regarding Trump. The construction trades are the most pro-Trump. The strongly anti-Trump camp includes the SEIU, the NEA and several federal, state and municipal employees’ unions. Then there’s the ambivalent, middle camp, including the autoworkers, steelworkers and machinists unions.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.